Getting to Know Portions

Cornerstone Family Healthcare’s Nutritionist: Barbara Moschitta, MPS, RD, CDN

Our eyes are bigger than our stomach and the concept of portions are changing. The traditional plate and cup sizes have increased over the years. The availability of supersized portions, and “suggested” serving size on product labels make it difficult for us to understand what the real recommend serving sizes are. We are also unaware of what a true portion is. Brian Wansink, PhD, nutrition professor, food psychologist and author of “Mindless Eating,” sheds light on our food behaviors and how food marketing has deceived us and he also explains “why we eat more than we think.” I often suggest to patients that if it is larger than the palm of your hand it is more than one portion. Measuring utensils are useful and give us more exact information of what a standard portion size is.

You can also purchase portion size plates with dividers, or purchase a lean frozen entrée, and afterwards using the container for portioning. In many cases starchy foods like potatoes, corn, rice and pasta go by standard 1/3-1/2 cup portions cooked. Nuts and seeds are a mere ¼ cup, and cheese three dice cubes or two tablespoons. Juice is four ounces. When I show patients what this looks likes, it is no wonder why we have so much obesity in our country, as the standard juice bottle drink is 15-20 ounces, and suggested serving size on bottle states “1 bottle” which is really 5x the standard portion translating to 5x the calories at 240 kcal vs. 48 calories! An option for reducing portions of starch is using open face sandwiches, lettuce wraps, or “thin” flat versions of your favorite bagel, bread, or wrap while checking grams of carbohydrates; one serving is 15 grams, a slice of pizza depending on size can equal three servings, where a bagel is equal to six slices of bread!

These basic tips are helpful, but often we are pressed for time, so try your best to plan what’s on your plate with these simple rules:

  • ½ plate of non-starchy vegetables/greens
  • ¼ plate starch or grain
  • ¼ plate protein

For more information on how to portion for a healthier diet or to make an appointment with our nutritionist, please visit or call (845) 563-8000.

You can also check out these resources:

  • ChooseMyPlate.Gov
  • •

You can also check out these books :

  • The Portion Teller-Dr. Lisa Young
  • Mindless Eating –Btian Wansink PhD.
  • Volumetrics –Barbara Rolls PhD.

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    Monica Francis, PA

    Avi Silber, MD, FAAP
    Tracy Lucas, FNP
    Adeola Ayodeji, MD, FAAP

    Chanchal Singh, MD
    Sneha Shrivastava, MD
    Penelope Guccione, FNP

    Julie A. O’Connor, CM, LM, MS
    Marian Seliquini, CM, LM, MS

    Koreen E. Thomas, FNP
    Andrea Giovinazzo, FNP-C

    Kate Michalak L.Ac., RPAC

    Alban Burke, DDS

    Neha Dada, O.D.

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